December 9, 2018 Subject:
Their only Colorado Springs appearance was the second in the state in less than three months (and back then it took less time to get to Boulder as it was still chiefly a rural drive with little traffic). Reed's Ranch was the Reed family's rodeo arena barn, that briefly hosted events (today it's a subdivision on Centennial Blvd & Rendezvous Tr). At 6550' altitude, it was the highest Dead show until '85. There was a whole lineup ahead of them (Devin Mikles>Holden Caulfield Blues Band>Zephyr>Alice Cooper), so they played very early in the morning, one long set. Alice Cooper were then an obscure LA act in the Zappa stable who had just released their still-obscure first album; so it's funny they were after Zephyr, who had a live rep. The set ended after dawn, and at the Ramada Inn afterward they got booted when Pigpen kicked-in a cigarette machine - all of which makes it amazing that they made it to Chicago for the next night!
Jer was new to pedal steel, having just got his during the Colorado stop several weeks earlier. But he was eager to design a set around it. Since then they had premiered the two songs at the top - so Jer could learn - as well as What's Become (though played but once), Dire Wolf, Casey Jones, & High Time. Since it was so late maybe little is missing (supposedly a Mama Tried, and/or perhaps one from the sit-down portion). It's hard to tell with the edited tunings, but it's over 90min, so probably pretty complete; the show before this is of similar length and setlist. The show isn't nearly as good as the Boulder show weeks earlier, but not bad for dawn. This was the brief period when they were trying to move away from Dark Star and psychedelic jamming, and they used this more obscure stop for experimentation - lots of strumming but with a couple Pig standards.
Green Green Grass doesn't much seem like a Dead song. Of the nine versions of Slewfoot, this is as good as it got. Sitting on Top of the World becomes a smoker halfway - in fact one of the best of '69. Check the frantic drummers. Dew is average for the period. High Time is the 5th one and still a bit of a farrago - though earnest. Bobby was doing the southern accent at the time, which makes a jest of Me & My Uncle. Casey Jones is the 4th one [we think - could be 3rd or 5th], still with the original intro and before the main riffs were written; but getting shorter already, and slowly improving. Hard to Handle is well sloppy with missed cues and beats. There are better versions of Just a Hand to Hold but if you want the one that's jammed out, keep this. In fact they use this as their jam vehicle for the night. Pig stretches a vampy Lovelight out to nearly half an hour before the tape runs out.
Overall = C+ / 3 stars
Slewfoot - as good as it got, if yr interested
Sitting on Top of the World - becomes a smoker
SOURCES: The 132377_sbd_miller is the first version to be completed, patched, and correctly pitched (as best as can be - there is a slow waver). It adds the complete Casey Jones, Hard to Handle, and Lovelight, but the tunings are cut. Just a Hand to Hold (He Was a Friend of Mine) was released a long time ago on Dead.net.
February 19, 2015 Subject:
hidden gem unveiled
Never noticed this show before now. So cool to have access to this recording. Thanks so much!
February 11, 2015 Subject:
Jerry wasn't the world's greatest pedal steel player by a long shot but, as usual, he was reliably *interesting*. His accompaniment to Bob's version of Green Green Grass of Home on this night is pretty sweet.
Slewfoot, well ... it's Slewfoot. And then Jerry puts the pedal steel away.
The gong/cymbal work on this version of Morning Dew is phenomenal, as is Jerry's playing and singing. If you're too impatient to take in the entire show check out this Dew at least.
Great early versions of High Time and Casey Jones. Casey Jones in the early days before they "figured it out" was maybe a bit more fun than the standard it became ...
He Was a Friend of Mine is played at a very relaxed tempo for a truly sublime 14 minutes. This is probably one of the best versions out there (they should never have stopped playing this song, in my opinion). After an incredible instrumental break, Jerry returns to the vocal mic around 10:00 and nearly whispers the lyrics.
Seems like there's some equipment issues for the first five minutes or so of Lovelight or ....?
Jerry on pedal steel. Early renditions of a couple tunes from Workingman's Dead. Pigpen classics. Love the C&W songs in the repertoire during that summer of 1969. Definitely a prolific period for the boys. Thank you Charlie for completing the set, it sounds great!